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Health Tips

There are a variety of holistic philosophies out there. Some of these ideas that follow are a mixture of those, whether from holistic medicine practitioners to Chinese medicine or the Auyrvedic philosophy, which is based on “The Human Body is a Self Correcting Mechanism”, and a part of nature when it runs perfectly as it was designed to. The human body is trying to be perfectly healthy all of the time, using its innate self-healing and self-regulating ability as it strives for a perfect homeostatic balance. But, in our lifestyles, we tend to interfere. Every day, our systems are exposed to literally millions of bacteria, viruses, allergens, even carcinogens. Our immune system has the intelligence and skill to deal with all those invaders and keep us healthy. However, when stress, inadequate nutrition, or just fatigue weaken the immune system, those same invaders may produce disease. You can help your body maintain proper balance by making the decision to follow these tips:

1. Never skip meals

Forgoing breakfast or lunch is a big ayurvedic no-no. Like a car running out of gas, when you don’t “fill up” on a regular basis, you simply don’t have enough fuel to burn. When this happens, the fuel-starved body must call on emergency reserves, in the form of adrenalin. Sure, that adrenalin can give you a short-term boost of energy. But running solely on this “fight-or-flight” hormone causes all sorts of physical changes, releasing a flood of stress
hormones into the body and increasing blood pressure and heart rate. An overabundance of these hormones not only causes cravings, anger, irritability, and exhaustion, but it also can become toxic over time. Even if you feel rushed, make time to eat throughout the day so you have enough fuel to see you through to bedtime.

2. Make lunch your biggest meal

Most of us have heard this before, but there is actually a reason behind it. According to ayurveda, different times of day correspond to three energies, expressed as vata (air) in the morning, pitta (fire) in the afternoon, and kapha (earth) in the evening. Most of us eat a big dinner between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., which is kapha time, precisely when our digestion slows down as the body prepares for sleep. Eat your biggest meal of the day between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.—pitta time—when your digestive fire is at its peak. By eating a big, nourishing meal at lunch, your body will burn the food more effectively and keep you from overeating at dinner.

3. Breathe like a baby

Babies don’t breathe through their mouths unless they are stressed. Mouth breathing has been called “a stress response.” Because it‟s shallow, it doesn’t allow you to pull air deep into the lower lungs. Nose breathing, on the other hand, produces a full, deep breath that also triggers the parasympathetic nervous system (which helps calm you). Breathing deep into your belly will expand your rib cage over time, allowing you to oxygenate your body more efficiently—and that, in turn, allows your metabolism to become more efficient. Try deep breathing by lying down on the floor with a book on your belly. As you inhale deeply through your nose, feel the book rise. As you exhale, squeeze out all the air as the book lowers.

4. Pump iron to sharpen your mind

Weight training can certainly keep your muscles and bones strong as you age. But in addition to helping you stay structurally sound, pumping iron can help you on an emotional level. Strong muscles translate to a sense of empowerment in the world. Many believe that those who lift weights on a regular basis often have more confidence. New research on exercise shows that when we develop our muscles, we also change the neuronal patterns in our brains, which in essence means you’re also altering your brain. Be sure to get the advice of experts on frequency and use of weights.

5. Get rest

Sleep is the most efficient way to metabolize excess stress hormones, such as adrenalin and cortisol in the body. And those hormones lead to cellular inflammation, which is the root cause of all chronic, degenerative disease. We recommend taking a nap when you can and giving yourself permission to sleep as late as you want on occasion. While eight hours a night is ideal, some of us need more. If you wake up tired, that‟s an indication that you need more sleep. Wake up refreshed, and you’re probably getting as much as you need.

6. Express appreciation

Your mother’s insistence that you send thank-you cards may have bugged you as a child, but expressing appreciation is more than just good manners. Sharing emotions like joy and gratitude are integral to overall good health, while chronic dissatisfaction and resentment can lead to physical problems down the road. In Chinese medicine, each organ is associated with a different emotion. Pensiveness or over-thinking injures the spleen and digestive organs, and repressed anger and resentment can negatively affect the liver. You can keep your organs healthy by cultivating a healthy attitude and taking responsibility for your emotional state rather than relying on other people, like your partner or kids, to make you feel better.

7. 70% rule

Chinese medicine adheres to the principle of moderation, which is called the 70 percent rule: Don’t do anything beyond 70 percent of your capacity. For example, eat only until you feel 70 percent full. If you have a meal and leave some empty space, you give your body the energy it needs. But if you eat too much, you’ll likely feel bloated and tired—and your digestion will slow down. And though this rule might seem counterintuitive to a nation raised on the “no pain, no gain” motto, you should apply it to exercise too. It’s great to get your heart rate up and maybe even break a sweat, but don‟t do so much that you feel depleted afterward. As in most things with Chinese medicine, the rule has a philosophical slant. “Everything in moderation, including moderation.”

8. Eat warm foods

Ice water, ice cream, and frozen smoothies: they may taste good, but according to Chinese medicine, too many of these foods can chill your body, which slows down your circulation, weakens your digestive fire, and creates stagnation in your organs. The digestive energy is likened to a fire. You don’t want to put a lot of cold things into your body because over time, they’ll put out that fire. Eating foods that keep your fire strong is a prescription for longevity. This is a particularly important rule to follow for women, according to acupuncturists. For instance, in women, cold foods, which cause the heart to work harder to boost circulation and maintain optimal body temperature, take away some of the energy the body needs for conception and menstruation. So turn to warm, nurturing soups and stews as the weather begins to cool off—and remember to limit raw, cold, and frozen foods year-round.

9. Slow down

Our multitasking, technologically enhanced, workaholic culture can take a huge toll on our overall health. Some people thrive on cramming as much as possible into their days. But for most of us, this causes serious energy depletion, which can lead to illness. The body secretes adrenalin and cortisol when stressed, and abnormally high levels of these hormones can create disease-causing inflammation in the body. To counter chronic stress, we recommend carving out some unstructured time for reflection. That can help you remember what it feels like to be relaxed and in the present moment.

10. Annual physical

As much as you might dread your yearly doctor visit, it is important. At that visit, your doctor will order the right lab tests and ask the right questions that will help clue her in to what health problems could be happening for you now or in the future. For instance, if you tell your doctor that you feel tired all the time and don’t know why, she might order a thyroid test to see if there’s an imbalance. Of course, this requires that you have a physician you feel comfortable talking to and who really listens to your concerns and complaints, and then responds appropriately with dietary advice, follow-up tests, or referrals.

11. Find your passion

When you have passion for life, for friends, and for the planet, you’ll be more motivated to live healthier, exercise more, and eat well. f you’re motivated by worry, fear, or guilt, your health will certainly be impacted. We recommend spending some time each day doing something you love or hanging out with people who inspire you. Try revisiting a favorite childhood hobby, such as playing the violin or painting, or even just take a walk in the woods on a beautiful day. When we lose our connection to ourselves and things we love, we can have a tougher time expressing our inner joy and happiness.

12. Stop late night eating

Even if you’re not looking to lose weight, put an end to any post-dinner munching. Eating too much late at night can wreak havoc on your digestive system, disrupt the body’s natural wake-sleep cycle, called the circadian rhythm, and create a vicious cycle that’s hard to break: If you eat late at night, you’re less likely to wake up hungry, more likely to skip breakfast as a result, overeat at lunchtime because you’re starving, eat next to nothing at dinner because you’re still too full from lunch, and then get hungry and eat just before bedtime. When you wake up, the cycle starts again—and it can affect your quality of sleep. To avoid this pattern, we recommend setting a clear boundary about not eating mindlessly after dinner. If you must have something, drink some herbal tea or have a piece of fruit.

13. Vitamin D

According to research, most Americans lack sufficient vitamin D, and that’s a problem. Not getting enough D has been linked with chronic diseases such as cancer, illness, and depression. The body creates vitamin D from sunlight. But since few of us live near the equator or spend much time in the sun—at least without lots of sunscreen or protec-tive clothing—we don’t get enough of this crucial vitamin. We recommend supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 IU daily. (Ensure it is vitamin D3 and not a synthetic vitamin D found in milk and orange juice.)

Adapting these ideas to your lifestyle can make a difference for you. And you have control over that. Ultimately, the decision to make your life better and help your body maintain balance to stay healthy is up to you.

Disclaimer: This document was created in order to share some of the variety of ways you can help your body maintain proper balance . It is therefore for educational purposes. Information on this site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You should consult with the appropriate health practitioner in case of any medical condition. Natural Health and Wellness of New England, Inc.
781-414-2434 www.naturalhealthwellnessofnewengland.

 

 

 

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